Raffaello Sanzio Morghen

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Giovanni Boccaccio by Morghen, after Vinzenzo Gozzoni

Raffaello Sanzio Morghen (19 June 1758 – 8 April 1833) was an Italian engraver.

He was born in Naples, apparently to a German family of engravers. He received his earliest instructions from his father, himself an engraver; but, to obtain more advanced training, he was placed as a pupil under the celebrated Giovanni Volpato. He assisted this master in engraving the famous pictures of Raphael in the Vatican City, and the print which represents the miracle of Bolsena is inscribed with his name. He married Volpato's daughter, and, being invited to Florence to engrave the masterpieces of the Florentine Gallery, he removed thither with his wife in 1782. His reputation now became so great as to induce the artists of Florence to recommend him to the grand duke as a fit person to engrave the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci; apart, however, from the dilapidated state of the picture itself, the drawing made for Morghen was unworthy of the original, and the print, in consequence, although an admirable production, fails to convey a correct idea of the style and merit of Leonardo. Morghen's fame, however, soon extended over Europe; and the Institute of France, as a mark of their admiration of his talents, elected him an associate in 1803. In 1812 Napoleon invited him to Paris and paid him the most flattering attentions. He died in Florence.

A list of the artist's works, published at Florence in 1810, comprised 200 compositions; the number was afterwards considerably increased. Amongst the most remarkable, besides those already mentioned, may be noticed the Transfiguration from Raphael, a Magdalen from Murillo, a Head of the Saviour from da Vinci, the Car of Aurora from Guido, the Hours and the Repose in Egypt from Poussin, the Prize of Diana from Domenichino, the Monument of Clement XIII. from Canova, Theseus vanquishing the Minotaur, Francesco Moncado after Van Dyck, portraits of Dante, Petrarch, Leonardo, Ariosto, Tasso, and a number of other eminent men. His prints have hardly maintained the reputation which they enjoyed during the artists lifetime. Though carefully and delicately executed, they are somewhat mechanical and wanting in force and spirit. A pupil of Volpato, then of Morghen himself, was Giovanni Folo of Bassano. Giovacchino Cantini was also a pupil of Morghen.

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